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California reduces deportations for minor crimes

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- Gov. Jerry Brown has approved reducing the maximum penalty for a misdemeanor by one day, a move that will significantly reduce the number of legal immigrants who can be deported for lesser crimes.

Federal law lets legal immigrants be deported if they are given a sentence of one year or more. But California law defines misdemeanors as crimes qualifying for jail terms of a year or less.

SB1310, signed into law by Brown on Monday, reduces the maximum penalty for misdemeanors to 364 days to conform to the federal law.

Advocates project the one-day change could affect thousands of immigrants in California.

There was no organized opposition to the bill by Democratic Sen. Ricardo Lara of Bell Gardens.

The law takes effect in January.

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